It’s safe to say we’re all, for the most part, trying to make good decisions, even though #adulting can be a struggle. But when it comes to your career, there’s more to it than just staying focused during the holidays and slaying as a first-time manager. Even though it’s looking like the gender wage gap will close in 2069 (ahh!!! Deep breath), the little known gender investing gap is something you can take action on RN. Below, Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital financial advisor for women, is sharing five tips to help ladies invest smarter and save hundreds of thousands or — wait for it — MILLIONS over our lives.
1. Don’t underestimate the costs of waiting to invest. For a lot of us, investing can be a scary idea, which leads us to waiting for the exact right time to give it a go. We say we’ll invest when the market is quieter or wait until we get that long-deserved raise or — the worst excuse we’ve been know to use — we’re just too busy. But Sallie says that’s costing us — big time.
“When we wait, we miss out on the returns that the market has historically earned, even considering market volatility,” she explains. “For example, say you’re making $85,000 a year, saving 20 percent of your salary and putting it in the bank instead of investing it. Waiting five years to invest costs you more than $170,000 when it’s time to retire. Wait 10 years, and you’re down more than $337,000. Put another way, that cost of waiting is nearly $100 a day. What would you do if $100 fell out of your purse every day? You wouldn’t wait until you had time to fix it. You would fix it right away.”
2. Look for THREE main things in an investment firm. Repeat after us: low cost, transparency and a fiduciary. “First question to ask: Is the firm you’re considering a fiduciary? This is important because a fiduciary is required to place your interests ahead of its own. Sounds good, right?” asks Sallie. To which we say, uh, yes!
“From there, look for an investment firm with low fees. Ellevest recommends to avoid paying more than 0.75 percent in management fees and to be wary of advisers who recommend investments with high fees. Find a firm that will be transparent on fees, so there’s no guesswork on how much it will cost you. And remember: Cheaper isn’t always better. Be sure to ask what you’re getting for the fees you are paying,” suggests Sallie. It doesn’t get better than this checklist if you’re choosing an investment firm.
3. Write your goals down and invest toward them. Do you want to start your own business someday? Own a home? Awesome. You’re going to need to make an action plan to achieve your goals. Sallie says, “Research indicates that your chances of meeting a goal increase if you just write it down. Those chances increase even more if you put aside money to invest for them. This list can also be motivation to invest if you’re imagining opening your amazing business in a few years!”
4. Make investing a good habit. We brush our teeth every night, follow a solid skincare routine and fit in our daily steps. Sallie says you should think about investing in the same way. She advises, “Invest regularly, whether it’s with every paycheck or every week, month or quarter.” The simplest way to do that? “Make it a part of your routine by setting up a recurring deposit,” she says. “This works well for a few reasons. One is that once this habit is in place, you won’t even miss that money. Another is that this type of habit means you won’t be tempted to try to ‘time’ the market, by thinking that if it’s expensive now, you should hold back from investing or when it’s cheap, you should invest more. Even professionals don’t do this well. By making it habit, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache — and likely get better returns.”
5. Don’t look at your investments too often. “Have you read those articles about investing mistakes people make? The ones that talk about over-trading, falling in love with the ‘winners’ and panicking in market downturns?” asks Sallie. Well, according to her, those tend to be the mistakes men make in investing. And those mistakes can be driven by checking how your investments are doing, and then checking again and again.
She adds, “Women historically have been better investors than men. This is in part because we adopt a longer-term outlook when investing and don’t react to every shift in the market. So give your investment portfolio a good once-over every quarter, but avoid looking at it on a daily or weekly basis.” Can we just repeat our fave part? Women are historically better investors than men. That’s all.
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(Photos via Getty)